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Oracle Data Cloud Blog

The Hollywood-sequel epidemic: The right way forward or just a miscommunication?

This week’s guest blog post is contributed by Jack Foster, Product Strategy, Media & Entertainment​, Oracle Data Cloud. 

While TV has been experiencing its “Golden Age” over the past decade, with an explosion of new platforms and unique content for viewers to consume, Hollywood may be more accurately characterized as living in the Age of the Sequel.

Box-office growth continues to slow (rising less than one percent in 2016) while more big-budget films are released.

This box-office competition turned many studios toward remakes and sequels, so called “movie franchises,” as a way for their film to achieve box-office success.

This “franchise” epidemic took theaters by storm; in 2016, half of the Top 50 movies released were a remake or a sequel representing a 312 percent increase since 2000.

While studios saw some success using movie franchises to lure theatergoers, audiences as a whole have not reacted entirely favorably to this increased reliance on sequels.

So, if movie franchises are the norm—yet box-office growth continues to slow and people are uninterested in the types of movies being released—why are these film franchises still at the top of the box-office charts?

Because the channels most movie studios choose to spend the majority of their ad dollars on, such as TV, print and out-of-home, are only effective at getting viewers’ attention when name recognition is built in.

During the last few years, the use of these “anonymous” or un-attributable channels, where marketers and content providers are unsure who saw their ads, lost their effectiveness at introducing unique movie concepts.

This resulted in unique titles often lacking the awareness necessary for box-office success, which led to even more sequels being made.

This decrease in effectiveness for these old-school channels is inextricably tied to how people consume media today.

Instead of looking to TV for their source of entertainment and news, people look to their phones and desktops to consume content across myriad channels.

However, what ties these digital channels together is the level of personalization that people feel when they log in to their favorite social media platform or news app.

Digital audiences today signal to online marketers and publishers where their interests lie through their online activities, which means more actionable data for marketers.

A side effect of this data-driven personalization is that viewers now expect relevant, personalized advertising and content experiences.

The fact is the vast majority of linear TV still has no granular targeting capabilities, which means most TV ads fall on flat ears. In fact, 68 percent of U.S. adults use their smartphones while watching TV, despite TV viewership numbers continuing to decline.

With media consumption shifting away from TV, the exorbitant prices paid to reach TV audiences (the average CPM for network TV is $43 compared to $9.90 for digital video) where little is known about audience makeup and reach, seem to make less sense for movie marketers.

This is coupled with the fact that first-party data on who sees the ads, watches the trailers and engages with content related to an upcoming film can’t be captured through TV, depriving movie marketers of an important resource for analytics and targeting.

In the end, creating personal connections to a movie is the ultimate goal of any movie trailer.

Therefore, serving a movie trailer in the right environment to the right person is of paramount importance for movie marketers.

Digital allows movie marketers to reach their target audience at scale, while serving up the trailer in formats and channels that people are most likely to engage with.

Television’s embrace of unique content and non-standard formats of consumption and advertising has led it to new heights.

Here’s to hoping movie studios can think outside the box and do the same. 

Read this next: How data drives Smokey the Bear 

About Jack Foster

Jack Foster leads product strategy for Oracle’s Media & Entertainment group. He was originally brought on to advise Oracle Data Cloud on vertical expansion and subsequently helped launch the Industry Verticals group. Prior to joining Oracle, Jack was in product marketing and sales strategy at Rocket Fuel, focusing on their entertainment business.

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Image: Shutterstock

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